This paper starts by assessing deficiencies in teaching statistics before summarizing research that has focused on pupils’ misconceptions of probability. In contrast, in previous research has explored what pupils of age 11-12 years do know and can construct, given access to a carefully designed environment. These pupils judged randomness according to unpredictability, lack of pattern in results, lack of control over outcomes and fairness, as indeed would experts. However, it was only through interaction with a virtual environment, ChanceMaker that the pupils began to express situated meanings for aggregated long-term randomness. That data is then re-analyzed in order to reflect upon the design decisions that shaped the environment itself. Four main design heuristics are identified and elaborated: testing personal conjectures, building on pupil knowledge, linking purpose and utility, fusing control and representation. It is conjectured that these heuristics are of wider relevance to teachers and lecturers, who aspire to shape the experience of young and naïve probabilists through their actions as designers of tasks and pedagogical settings.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.